Easy sewing projects: DIY shorts
In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to make 2 pairs of shorts you can see in the images below. And you can find how to make matching pajama tops in my other tutorial here.
But at some point, I decided to draft my own high waisted shorts pattern because I was really tired of those low-cut shorts that won’t stay up without a belt and kept dropping off my hips. I found easy instructions how to make a simple shorts pattern in one of the Russian YouTube tutorials. It was really simple, it didn’t even have side seams and zipper closure, and I could even draw it right on the fabric without a paper pattern. I made a few changes to the basic drawing though.
To my surprise, the first shorts I made with this simple pattern fitted me perfectly. Since then I made lots of shorts and pajamas pants using this pattern.
Here are the steps how you can make the pattern for your own measurements. I hope you are going to have a perfect crotch also and I hope this simple pattern will be good for any lower body shape.
Take the following measurements:
Hip circumference ( hips )
Side length. This is the distance between the waistline and the horizontal surface when you sit down on that surface ( please see image below )
Length of shorts measured from the crotch including the hem ( inner pants leg length )
This pattern has seam allowances already included and they are around 1 cm (3/8 in).
Please note that I am not a professional seamstress and didn’t finish any pattern making courses. Maybe this pattern breaks some pattern making fundamentals, I don’t know about that. The only thing I know that it fits well and it’s a really easy pattern.
This is a pattern for high rise shorts with an elastic waistband
Start with Point A
Point B at a distance from A equal to 1/10 hips + 1cm
Point C at a distance from B equal to ¼ hips + 1cm
Point D at a distance from C equal to ¼ hips + 1cm
Point E at a distance from D equal to 1/20 hips + 1cm
As you may notice distances B-C and C-D are equal to each other and are equal to ¼ hips + 1cm.
Draw a perpendicular to line A-E in point A and mark point A1 at a distance equal to inner pants leg length (for my shorts I used 10 cm). Perform a similar operation in point E, distance E-E1 is equal to A-A1. Connect points A1 and E1. This line is parallel to line A-E.
Draw a perpendicular to line A-E in point B and mark on this new line two points: B1 at a distance 1/20 hips + 3cm from B and B2 at a distance from B equal to the measured side length + 3cm.
Draw a perpendicular to line A-E in point C and mark on this new line one point C1 at a distance equal to the measured side length.
Draw a perpendicular to line B-B2 in point B2 and mark a point B3 at a distance of 3cm (for all sizes) from B2. Line B2-B3 is parallel to A-E.
The Grainline is parallel to lines B- B2, C-C2 and D-D2.
Connect points B3, C2 and D2. Please note that the points B3, C2 and D2 are NOT in a straight line; they are close, but not co-linear. This is expected.
You can draw this curved lines free hand without the French curve ruler of course.
Well, that’s all for the pattern drafting.
Now lets’ prepare the fabric for the shorts. These guidelines are good also for matching pajama tops (I guess you would like to sew them too; check out this link that goes to my other tutorial).
This pattern is suitable for any kind of knits and also for lightweight and medium weight woven fabric with some kind of stretch in it.
For best results, I prewashed all fabrics and trims in warm water and used my dryer for the gauze and the cotton. As for the chiffon and trims, I air dried it after prewashing and afterwards ironed. Check my tutorial about prewashing silk fabric – click here.
For every sewing project you will need to find at least one straight edge of the fabric so afterwards you can advance from that line on. Fabric cut in the store is not always cut straight. Sometimes the bevel happens to be 5-10 cm or even more. It is very important to straighten fabric edges for any sewing projects BEFORE cutting pattern pieces from it.
If you would like to see a bigger image just click on it and it will open in the same window.
Useful tip: You don’t need to buy 4 cones of the same color thread for this 4 thread overlock stitch. I usually have one cone (sometimes 2) and then I use my regular sewing machine to put the thread on 3 bobbins. I use bobbins in my serger but they have to be covered with small spool holders as you can see in the image below.
Start sewing shorts with stitching inside leg seams. Stitch the short ends of the waistband. Press the seams. Fold the waistband in half and press.
For gauze shorts I used folded strips of silk chiffon and for knit shorts I used matching elastic trims.
I made a review of this thread on my blog, check out this article if you are interested:
and where to buy it
I am sure even a beginner sewist could make these shorts in almost no time at all.
If you want to make also matching pajama tops check out my other tutorial.
Say HI on social media!
Actionable tips, tools and inspiration for people who like to sew. Make fashionable garments together with me @ageberry77